31st ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hours – Third Saturday Report
Into The Night – GTR Fight Back, Top Three Very Close

Time to throw the script for this race out of the window, as it has lost another one of its protagonists: the third placed #6 Opel Astra OPC of Dumbreck / Bleekemolen / Menzel / Strycek excused itself from the event in a spectacular way as it, too, crashed out after playing it too close in traffic. The Opel clipped a backmarker, and spun into the guardrails. It lost a wheel in the crash, and seems to be a definite retirement. The other Astra was still going strong at 9 p.m., with in the lead up ahead the #8 Audi and the Viper. The Astra was among the cars that randomly, and frequently, get called in for a quick visit to the scrutineering tent, to be weighed. The first car to be called in for weighing was the Viper, the heaviest car a fitting test for the scale. They were deemed to be legal, and are still running in third.

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A quick look at the "quietly consistent" department, and there is a lot to look at here: the Falken Nissan - with local hero Asch at the wheel - profited from the retirements at the head of the field, and moved up to fifth, then fourth, followed by the privateer V8 M3 of Johannes Scheid / Mario Merten / Kainz. Also making great inroads is the Raeder Porsche of Britons Bennett and Price, now on the same lap as the leader, and in fifth place overall. Seventh currently for the normally aspirated Alzen Porsche of Markus Hofbauer / Jan Frank / Andrew Bagnall / Patrick Simon: the former two are Porsche development engineers. The Moore International Motorsport M3 Special - of the 6cyl. E36 variety - is a very respectable sixth. Running strongly just out of the top 10 throughout the last few hours has been the BMW M3 of Calum Lockie, John Cowgill, and Cor Euser. Euser won the Dutch Supercar race at Assen, arrived here by helicopter, and is driving his first stint now. He leaves ghere at 08.00, for an 11.00 race at Assen tomorrow. Lockie and Cowgill had managed to keep the XL racing BMW in P1 in class without the Dutchman. What can they do with him? "You wouldn’t believe some of the crashes,“ commented C. Lockie. "The Opel had a BIG shunt, and the two Porsches apparently hit each other – on the straight.“ This is old fashioned racing – at its best.

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Edgar Dören and Harald Grohs are two Porsche Porsche stalwarts, and they find themselves high up the order right now with their self-prepared cars; their (by comparison) low-key approach to this race has so far paid off: Russian GT driver Oleg Kesselman was supposed to be a part of this team, but was replaced at the last minute by Franjo Kovac.

Grohhs / Scharmach / Fischer / Reisert are in a fine fifth overall; the Dören / Lück / Wawer / Kovac 996 had been up in sixth, and is currently in ninth. No big names in these cars, no fireworks, but solid performances all round.

Trouble for American drivers Vic Rice and Spencer Trenery who are driving the #4 Porsche; this car broke a driveshaft just after 7 p.m. No trouble at the moment for another American: Boris Said's #42 M3 GTR is back up to 13th (THIRTEENTH) position, the fastest moving object in the Eifel at the moment. If they don't break it, they will play a key roll in this race.

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At last, there is routine pit work for the Schnitzer team. In comes #43 (moving again but in 122nd), tyres are changed, fuel is replenished, windshield is cleaned, drivers changed, out she goes. If only it could have been like this all along.The Astra vs. TT-R battle of the DTM cars continued as the turbocharged Porsches had to pay the price for their earlier tours de force. It is now known that there was contact between the Alzen 996 and the JVG Porsche of von Gartzen / Smith / Grant / Bouchut; both cars then ran into trouble; the JVG car suffered an unrelated puncture, while the Alzen Porsche sustained damage to its rear suspension which ultimately damaged the gearbox; this a statement from the team via the organisers.

And what about Giles Groombridge's Brunswick Alfa 156? The car was patched up in time for the race, then developed an oil leak that needed fixing, and is now circulating steadily. To make the finish is the objective here.

After eight hours of racing (23.00), the leaders are separated by 12 seconds on the road – and the top three are on the same lap.
Cy Bersdorf

Midnight Update

"At the end of hour 1, things have settled down a little as they usually do at such races."

Remember that statement? - It is now past midnight, and nothing has settled down one little bit. The leaders are running nose to tail at the moment, and the lead has changed yet again. The #5 Opel is now once again ahead of the #8 Audi, but a blanket could cover them. The Viper is a lap down in third, and it has apparently been allowed to take on 120l of fuel... - or was that a mistake in the press release.

Further down the field - but not much further! - the amazing comeback of the #4 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR continues: eighth, and on the same lap as the two cars immediately ahead of it (five laps down on the leaders).

Calum Lockie's M3 has now unfortunately dropped out of the top 100, as has the Price / Bennett 996. The two turbocharged Porsches are also slowly, perhaps too slowly, creeping up the order again: the Manthey variety in 23rd, and the "Alzen Alien" in 120th, new gearbox in place and working fine it seems.

At 01.00

1 8 AUDI Abt Audi TT-R WENDLINGER Karl, ABT Christian, NISSEN Kris, WERNER Marco 60 10:01:00.883
2 5 OPEL Astra V8 Coupe REUTER Manuel, SCHEIDER Timo, TIEMANN Marcel, STRYCEK Volker 60 10:04:30.480 3:29.597
3 44 NISSAN Skyline GT-R ASCH Roland, SCHOYSMAN Dirk, KINOSHITA Takayuki, TANAKA Tetsuya 57 10:03:32.663 3 Runden
4 27 PORSCHE 996 GROHS Harald, SCHARMACH Peter, FISCHER Werner, REISERT Thomas 56 9:58:03.230 4 Runden
5 3 PORSCHE 996 HOFBAUER Markus, FRANK Jan, BAGNALL Andrew, SIMON Patrick 55 9:59:23.321 5 Runden
6 42 BMW M3 STUCK Hans-Joachim, SAID Boris, NIELSEN John, DUEZ Marc 55 10:00:52.600 5 Runden
7 10 BMW SCHEID Johannes, KAINZ Oliver, MERTEN Mario 55 10:02:34.276 5 Runden
8 1 DODGE Viper ZAKOWSKI Peter, LAMY Pedro, LECHNER Robert 54 9:11:56.177 6 Runden
9 64 BMW M3 ADAMS Rudi, FRIES Andreas, WENGER Sepp, RIESS Werner 54 9:55:35.359 6 Runden
10 52 BMW E36 MOORE Willie, COX David, BARROW Nick 54 9:57:00.300 6 Runden
11 46 PORSCHE 996 DÖREN Edgar, LÜCK Carl Christian, DR. WAWER Ernst-Paul, KOVAC Franjo 54 9:58:31.575 6 Runden
12 40 PORSCHE Cup WEILAND Matthias, MAYER Oliver, WEINER Ralf, WINTER Gerd 54 10:00:27.736 6 Runden
13 33 HONDA NSX-R VON SAURMA-JELTSCH Horst, ÜBLER Jochen, SCHURIG Marcus, OESTEREICH Markus 54 10:01:19.325 6 Runden
14 34 PORSCHE 996 OTTO Jörg, WEISS Georg, ZINNOW Thomas, ERKES Artur 54 10:03:15.599 6 Runden
15 37 PORSCHE 993 RSR PACZYNSKI Johannes, HAID Bernd, BERMES Heinz-Josef, KOLL Thomas 54 10:03:46.412 6 Runden
16 58 BMW M3 KLEINHERBERS Reik, BEHLING Christian, DRABINIOK Wolfgang, DUVE Andre 53 9:54:01.715 7 Runden
17 106 VOLVO S60 ANDREE Ulrich, BERMES Heinz-Josef, MIDDENDORF Andreas, KETTERER Mario 53 9:57:38.185 7 Runden
18 39 PORSCHE 911 Cup SCHNEIDER Achim, DISTLER Kurt, WEILAND Harald, DR. ALTHOFF Edgar 53 9:59:07.390 7 Runden
19 102 BMW M3 KARL Hans-Hatto, WEHNER Rainer, BAUER Peter 53 9:59:08.964 7 Runden
20 74 BMW M3 GTR OBERMANN Willi, STETTER Manfred, TILKE Hermann, HULVERSCHEID Paul 53 10:00:41.651 7 Runden

Next report 09.00 (ish).

 

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